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I wish to encourage swifts and house martins to nest in my eaves but am unable to do so because of telephone wires. Is there any way I can get BT to move them?

Sent in by Ruth Jewitt, Llanelli, Carmarthenshire

Both house martins and swifts are incredibly well adapted to life on the wing. They have acute vision that enables them to catch tiny flying insects in flight – hence providing food cannot attract them.

The presence of the Telecom cables should not be a problem as they will easily be able to navigate around them as they would any other stationary object. It is only with larger more slowly manouevering birds like swans where this could pose a significant problem. The martins in the area may well even use them as perches when they begin to gather during late summer.

To move the cables would be at the discretion of the supplier. In some circumstances, they will consider laying them underground where appropriate. You should contact them directly or perhaps write to your local MP to take action for wildlife.

Artificial, ready-made house martin nests can be purchased from our online store while nestboxes for swifts may be purchased here.

For tailored advice on enhancing the wildlife value of your garden, please join thousands of others in our Homes for Wildlife project.

Swifts are in trouble – they’ve just moved from the green list of Birds of Conservation Concern to the amber list. Actually, they came perilously close to going straight to red. We’re not sure of all of the reasons why their numbers are falling, but we do know they are losing many of their nest sites, because buildings are repaired and they can’t get into their old holes, or the buildings may even be knocked down. Buildings have to be repaired and replaced, of course, but how sad that these terrific birds should lose out, when they may have nowhere else to go, and they use the same sites again and again.

We need your help

This summer we are asking you for your help. We really do need to find out where swifts are breeding.

We're working with various voluntary groups that are doing great work to help swifts, to develop an 'inventory' to record the location of colonies of swifts that people tell us about. There's a simple questionnaire to complete on-line, telling us where screaming swifts are, and when, and if known, where they are actually nesting.

Knowing about screaming parties is important, because it usually means they are nesting close by, even if we don’t know exactly where. As the data builds through time, we hope it will encourage sensitive development and renovation of buildings, and also to target new nest site provision where it’ll be most effective.

It's straightforward to do. Please add any swifts that you know about, and encourage others to do the same. The more complete the inventory, the more it will help this very vulnerable bird. Click here to submit your records.

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If you do have have a wildlife-related question you have not been able to find the answer to, please contact us. Click on the link below to go to our Contact Us page.

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